I haven’t been to the bookstore and ages. In fact, it’s been so long that I can’t remember the last time my foot crossed the threshold of a bookstore that didn’t have used/thrift somewhere in the mix. So, it was kind of cool to hit Barnes & Noble this weekend after a random conversation we had on the bus about Robin McKinley’s Sunshine (I would buy it for her if she was interested in reading it, she declined). We both wandered around the store looking at books (she was all over the teen paranormal romance section. Yes, they have one! And I was camped out in science fiction and fantasy) and craft kits (you can buy a crockpot with a slow cooker cookbook… at B&N, y’all), Harry Potter gear (they are still selling it!) and all the cool new board games (Munchkins? Apparently, it’s a funny take on D&D) too.
We were winding down, just about to head out the door when I thought about a series, Books of the Order, that I had started when I still worked at the book warehouse. The first book was called Geist and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I was on pins and needles to read the next book… but life intervened and I forgot all about it. Well, today I got Spectyr and Wrayth, the second and third books in the series. I haven’t started the new books (I’ve got like five things going right now) but I’m excited to start them when I cross a few of my current reads off the “currently reading” shelf.
Kevin Brockheimer’s book details the emotional and physical wounds that are highlighted by a phenomena dubbed “The Illumination”. In the world he’s created, every wound shines with varying shapes and intensities of light dependent on the injury’s severity.
The book is broken up into six parts, each part from the viewpoint of a character that has come into contact with a journal from the first section if the book. In the first section a woman accidentally cuts herself while opening a box from her ex-husband containing her alimony check. When she gets to the hospital, her thumb starts glowing with light, which she assumes is a hallucination from the drugs she’s been given. It turns out that everyone in the world is experiencing these illuminated wounds. When she’s readmitted a little while later with complication arising from her initial visit, she makes the acquaintance of a womb dying from injuries sustained in a car crash. The woman assumes her husband, who was driving the car, is dead and bequeaths the journal she kept of his mash notes to her during their marriage to the woman that cut herself. From here every character comes into contact with the book. The dead accident victim’s husband. The neighbor boy who believes the book is wounded and steals it from the husband.
Each section is filled with precise little details about people’s daily lives and the ways in which we inflict pain on each other. I’m finding this book both haunting and beautiful in equal measure and can’t recommend it enough.
I was supposed to read this two months ago for my sister’s online book club but I didn’t get to it (for a number of reasons). I’ve got some time right now and I needed to take a break from Russell Kirkpatrick’s In the Earth Abides the Flame.
I’m not one of those people who remembers every last thing from childhood. I remember the highlights mostly and this book is one of the highlights. I remember being five, my sister was three, and being tucked under these bright coverlets that were a tropical floral pattern on one side and orange plush on the other while my mom read us pages from The Hobbit before bedtime. Only one other book stands out from that time (Jean Conder Soule’s Never Tease a Weasel) but this book made a lifelong impression that has informed my reading choices throughout my lifetime. Every story I truly enjoy has to have some element of the fantastical about it. If it doesn’t, it usually doesn’t satisfy.
So, I’m going back to my roots and reading this literary classic again. Happy hump day… the weekend is actively beckoning now. 🙂